At every stage of evolution, people were eager for emotion, fun, and, of course, wins. The UK space is not an exception – gambling here has a long history, which dates back to the 15th century. During all this time, the industry has gone through radical changes, to reach the form we know it today.
Gambling in The UK Now
First of all, let’s take a look at the current state of the UK gambling industry. Nowadays, new online casinos are constantly appearing and it is becoming increasingly difficult for players to choose a really good online casino. In this regard, the Wagering Advisors’ casino rankings became very useful, conducting reviews of UK online casinos and providing players with useful information about licensing, game offers, bonuses, payment methods, etc.
However, online casinos have gained popularity in the last few decades. Before this, the gambling industry was mainly about land-based games. Plus, for a long time, this game was available only for rich and influential people. Let’s see how the industry has evolved over the centuries to become a very accessible one today.
Land-based Games: From the Tudors to The 17th Century
Land-based gaming in the UK has its roots in the Tudor era (1485-1603) when Queen Elizabeth launched the first national public lottery (in 1566, to raise money for repairing the harbour). During this period the first awareness of the negative effects that this type of fun can have, if the principles of responsible gaming are not respected, appeared. As a consequence – games was banned.
This did not stop the industry. Gambling continued to flourish in secret houses, horse racing tracks, spa resorts, and other places where the rich and noble enjoyed lawn bowling, cards, dice, and other money games. Gambling was also popular among the common people who bet on cockfighting and other forms of entertainment.
The 17-19th Centuries: Boom of Diversification
In the 18th and 19th centuries, gambling became more varied and accessible with the emergence of new forms of games such as betting houses, football pools, greyhound racing, and others. Football pools became a mass phenomenon in the 1920s when the working classes began betting on football.
1990s to the Present Day: Online Industry
Many experts associate the 1990s with the beginning of mass digitization. Also during this period, the industry in the UK began to develop actively. In this period first online casinos, poker rooms, betting sites, and other platforms offering real-time gambling appeared. Online gambling quickly gained popularity among players who valued the convenience, anonymity, variety, and security of online gaming.
It was no longer necessary to go somewhere to play your favorite slots or place sports bets. Everything became accessible directly from the computer, through the Internet. The growing popularity of online gambling has led the UK government to implement a series of laws to regulate the field.
The most important piece of legislation was The Gambling Act (2005). This act identified three main objectives for the regulation of gambling in the UK:
- to prevent criminal and anti-social activities associated with gambling;
- to ensure the integrity and transparency of gambling;
- and to protect children and vulnerable people from gambling in the UK.
Gambling in the UK: Today’s Perspective
The data provided by Statista best reflects the state of the online casino industry in the UK: above 40 percent of total gambling in the UK in 2020 belongs to the online casinos. Online gambling has also become more diverse and innovative, offering players different types of games.
Casinos are becoming more and more accessible – nowadays it takes less than 5 minutes to create a player account. Registration at Bet9ja only requires filling out a registration form (4-5 minutes) and confirming your email address. Many online casinos also offer you the possibility to log in through your Gmail, X, or Facebook account.
Plus, many casinos offer generous welcome packages. Gambling in the UK is accessible even to new players who don’t have huge bankrolls or years of online casino gaming experience.
As you can see, it took centuries for the casino industry to reach the format we know today. Such a long route only creates advantages for players – progress has left only the best casino games. Due to regulation, players’ rights are now respected and guaranteed by the UK government. Licensed online casinos offer you a safe, honest and transparent gaming experience.
Many experts predict that gambling could soon become the most popular form of online entertainment. Gambling in the UK continues to evolve, adapting to new technologies, player needs and preferences, but also faces new challenges and risks that require attention and solutions from all stakeholders.
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